I am penning this months column from the comfort of my Norwegian hotel room. When I say “penning” I of course mean bashing it out on my touch screen and when I say “comfort” I mean minimalist with a lot of hard surfaces. I am in Stavanger to perform to some expat Brits and no doubt some slightly confused Norwegians.
Norway, as everyone knows, is breathtakingly beautiful it is also eye wateringly expensive, the purchase of even a modest pizza may require you to take out a loan to be paid off over the next 20 years. It is harder to enjoy a slice of margarita knowing that the debt incurred might out live you.
People have a tremendous standard of living here, they have good teeth, a healthy glow and every new born child is presented with a flying unicorn (I made the last bit up, but if you could buy unicorns, they could afford them).
The only chance to save a few bob on a trip to Norway is in the duty free. Being a non EU country us booze loving Brits can cash in on the bargain grog offers before we take off for the fiords. It’s because of it’s non EU status that Norway is often held up as a shinning example of how good life can be outside the grip of Brussels. There is no doubt life is good here but that is because of many reasons including small population, massive oil reserves and a very well managed sovereign wealth fund.
With so much debate at the moment about whether we would be better off out of the EU it’s got me thinking about how I think of myself. Where do I see myself on the map? English? British? European?
I have come to the conclusion that while certain aspects of my character and outlook on life are distinctly British I do like thinking of myself as a European. My reasons for this are a bit nuts but I don’t care, they are my reasons and probably protected under the European Court of Human Rights… So Nahhhh!
I like being a European because I am proud to be part of a continent that produces so much cheese. I love cheese, French, Italian, Spanish, Bavarian smoked, British I love it all. I want to be part of this massive cheese continent.
Also, there are still wild wolves and bears to be found in parts of mainland Europe, I want to be connected to a place where I can dance with wolves not just side step pavement pigeons. European supermarkets excite me to the point of inducing dizziness, 5 litres of table wine that doubles up as diesel for 3 euros? Yes please! Drive from Brittany to Bulgaria without once having to flash your passport? Lets go.
Scotland will decide in a few months if it’s future is to lie outside the UK. The people of Cornwall have been granted minority status, how long before they want to push for full independence from England? What next? The republic of Essex?
I just feel we can achieve more together. After all, I live in a city that only came into being when two towns joined forces. Brighton and Hove, together we are better.
Zoe Lyons hosts Bent Double at the Komedia on the first Sunday of the month. Follow Zoe @zoelyons